"Black And Tan" Beer Can Chicken

Whoever first decided to roast a chicken by standing it up using a can of beer was a grill genius. The combination of the upright roasting technique and the additional flavors that beer imparts lead to wonderful results.

At the Weber Grill Restaurant, we have a beer can chicken on the menu that is very popular. Still roasted using the traditional upright method, we have enhanced the flavors by brining the chicken and making the sauce with the same beer (our own “Backyard Brew”) with great results.

Here I wanted to showcase a variation on the classic Beer Can Chicken with an Irish twist. We will follow the same technique, but use the ingredients of a classic “Black and Tan” (a drink made with a lager beer poured into a glass and a stout poured carefully on top, giving a two-tone effect in the glass). We brine the chicken with the lager and use a stout to make the sauce. A “Black and Tan” Beer Can Chicken. Sláinte!

"Black and Tan” Beer Can Chicken
by Matt Jost

Serves: 2 people
Prep Time: 15 minutes (overnight for the brine)
Cook Time: 75 minutes

Special Equipment:
Upright poultry roaster
Zester or potato peeler


1 whole chicken (about 4 ½ lbs)
1 lemon
3 sprigs rosemary
3 qts water
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup kosher salt
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2 bottles good lager beer (Harp, Goose Island 312, etc)

¼ cup shallots, peeled and minced
1 can stout beer (Guinness) about 15 fluid ounces
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee powder
2 tbsp honey, clover – in honor of St Patrick’s Day
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp kosher salt

½ cuplager beer (for the poultry roaster – or the can of beer half full to stand the chicken up on)
1 pound baby potatoes (each about the size of a charcoal briquette)
3 sprigs rosemary
4 tbsp olive oil
8 cloves garlic, peeled
Salt and pepper to taste                          


1. Brine
Rinse and pat dry the chicken, set aside. Zest or peel the lemon into a large pot. Add the water, sugar, salt, peppercorns and rosemary from the “Brine” list and bring to a simmer. Line the sink with ice water to create an “ice bath”. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove it from the heat and put the pot in your sink with ice and water.  Once the brine has chilled to 80 degrees F, add the 2 bottles of lager beer and stir together. Submerge the chicken in the brine and let sit in the refrigerator overnight (about 12 hours). Place a plate or weight on top of the chicken to keep it submerged. After 12 hours, remove the chicken from the brine, discard the brine and rinse and pat dry the chicken with paper towels. Set aside on a plate. Note, this step can be done a few days in advance, store the brined chicken in a covered container in the refrigerator after brining.

2.  Make the Stout Sauce

Place the shallots, 2/3 can of stout beer, brown sugar, coffee powder and honey into a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Cook until thick and syrupy. Remove from the heat and add the remaining stout beer, balsamic vinegar and salt. Set this aside to cool. Note, this can also be made ahead of time and stored in a container in the refrigerator.

3.  Set up the grill for indirect, medium heat cooking (about 375F). If using a gas grill, turn the outside burners on medium and leave the center ones off. If using a charcoal grill, set up a “ring of fire”, with the lit charcoal all around the outside of the grill, and a foil pan in the center.

4.  Toss the potatoes and garlic cloves with 2 tbsp of olive oil, season with the salt and pepper and arrange in the bottom of the poultry roaster. Insert a few sprigs of rosemary to give flavor while roasting. Then fill the poultry roaster with the lager beer, set aside.

5.  Rub the chicken with 2 tbsp of the olive oil all over, then season with salt and pepper. Insert the spike from the poultry holder into the cavity of the chicken, then place onto the poultry roaster on top of the cup filled with beer and potatoes. Arrange the chicken and potatoes so everything will cook evenly. (If using a can of beer, simply remove ½ of the beer and perch the chicken onto it, standing it upright. Use the 2 chicken legs and the beer to make a “tripod”.  Roast the potatoes in a separate pan or a foil wrapped pouch).

6.  Place the chicken on the gas or charcoal grill, over indirect heat and close the lid. 

Roast the chicken and potatoes for 50-60 minutes, until a thermometer inserted in two places of the chicken reads 160F. While the chicken cooks, baste it a few times with the stout sauce to give more flavor.

7.  Check the potatoes (they should be done at the same time as the chicken, if the potatoes were large enough). If they need a few more minutes, remove the chicken from the poultry roaster and return the potatoes to the grill to continue cooking until finished.

8. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting into. Serve with the remaining stout sauce.

Keep the coals hot!

What are your thoughts? (3)


UncleBill P

I quite enjoy my roaster and prefer to use it on my 22" charcoal Weber, we have moved and 'they' frown when we suggested to use it on the balcony. So, we ordered the Weber Q 3200; Will the roaster fit on the Q? I have received conflicting comments. I have not moved it into our condo yet.



Matt Jost

Hi Uncle Bill! A beer can chicken is a little too tall for the Q 3200 but you can still roast a chicken on that grill. Turn the middle burner off and place a veggie basket upside down in the middle of the cooking grate. Place the chicken on top of the veggie basket and you'll get an indirect roasting effect similar to the poultry roaster. Check out the veggie basket here: https://store.weber.com/accessories/category/cook/cookware/1345 We hope this helps!


Sue K

Tried this and the chicken was delicious and moist but the skin was very rubbery and a big disappointment:(


Matt Jost

Sue, I am sorry you are having trouble with the skin on the chicken. It does seem as though some chickens are prepared differently than others. I like to use a Kosher 4 ½ lb chicken and have had great results with them. The designation refers to the way the bird has been cleaned. Instead of a hot water bath to remove the feathers, they are hand-plucked and the chicken is dipped in a salt water bath before packaging. Weather you use a Kosher chicken or not, I do have a couple of fixes for you:

1. Are you drying the chicken off thoroughly before seasoning and roasting it off? Sometimes, the water steams and can keep the skin from crisping up during the cook.
2. Another method is to let the chicken dry out overnight in the refrigerator, uncovered. This will help dry the skin out to help the browning. Then, proceed with the seasoning and roasting.
3. The third thing that will help is to use a small, sharp knife to stab the skin. If you make multiple scores in the skin before roasting the chicken, the fat that is beneath the surface will get a chance to escape and allow the skin to dry out and crisp up nicely.

Let me know if that helps, I will be happy to work this through with you some more, if the above doesn’t help.

Wishing you grilling success,


Adolfo F

Very much appreciate all the detail in this post.


Matt Jost

Thank you Adolfo, I try to make sure not to forget anything, so your grilling experience is as easy as possible. Send a picture when you try it out.


Grill Overview